Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nanaimo Woman Loses $125,000 On Facebook



A Nanaimo woman lost $125,000 dollars after being scammed by a male she met on Facebook.

The female victim, who is in her 70’s, met the suspect after accepting a “friend” request from him on Facebook. Over the course of several months she developed what she believed was a close friendship. The suspect, who went by the name of “Tom BROWN”, told our victim he was an engineer for an oil company in Africa, he was from the United Kingdom, and had a ten year old daughter who still lived there. He needed money to fix his work equipment and the money began to flow. On another occasion he asked for money to assist with a medical emergency after he claimed to have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.

At one point, a “friend” of the suspect contacted our victim to let her know BROWN had slipped into a coma as a result of the motor vehicle accident. To further convince her the accident was legit, the “friend” sent a picture of BROWN in a hospital bed. Investigators later examined it and it was clear a different head had been photo shopped onto the person lying in the bed

Our victim did become somewhat suspicious but nevertheless continued having dialogue with the suspect. Soon the plot took an expected turn after she was contacted by an agent claiming to be working with “Interpol”. This person told her BROWN was being investigated for fraudulent activity, however for the investigation to continue she would be required to pay $5000. At this time, she contacted the Nanaimo RCMP and broke off dialogue with Tom BROWN.

“You can take the spots off a leopard but at the end of day, it’s still a leopard, “said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. “This ploy had all the bookmarks of a scam. First, the suspect develops a relationship with the victim and used it to tug at your heart strings. Next is a personal tragedy where money is desperately needed. Fraudsters troll popular social media sites assuming a variety of online personas. It is also not uncommon for men to create a female profile and vice versa for females. It is probable too the suspect was working a number of potential victims at the same time,”said O’Brien.

The best advice in situations like this is to never send money to anyone you meet on line and cannot verify their existence. “Our investigators will attempt to identify the suspect but it is an arduous process and at the end of the day may not result in criminal charges,”said O’Brien.

For more info on frauds, scams and on line security, visit www.bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca or www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

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